While working remotely the last 5 years out of Seoul, I missed the highly collaborative and fun teamwork that I experienced at design firms. None of the video or text tools provided an easy way to spontaneously connect and collaborate—so we decided to build one (www.presence.so).
Here are some of our POV's on how we aim to enable better remote teamwork:
100% asynchronous remote teamwork is possible but unsustainable. Even Basecamp who are remote work 'experts' say they spend 30% on synchronous communication (which is a lot considering what they preach)
Slack can work for spontaneous chats, but things can get lost very quickly in group channels and from the lack of nuance with text. Video call links can work, but scheduling one or getting people together is a big time drain.
For privacy, we think voice is much better by default than video. To help with focus, we have a giant 'mute' button as well as smart ways to automatically set when you are busy (ie working on a specific app, google calendar integration..etc).
There's probably more to uncover and refine, but these are some of our starting points for how we think we can dramatically improve remote teamwork.
Would love to hear your thoughts as fellow remote workers on IH :)